An anti-Israel demonstration in the US. (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
An anti-Israel demonstration in the U.S.

After initially acquiescing to BDS and cancelling a pro-Israel event, the Queens Museum came to its senses and agreed to hold the event. 

After committing to host the official celebration of the 1947 United Nations resolution that paved the way to the creation of the State of Israel, New York’s Queens Museum rescinded their agreement to host the event, caving in to the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) movement.

In response, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who initiated the event, has called for the dismissal of the Museum’s director, who edited a book in support of BDS.

Following a public outcry and protests, the museum reinstated the event

The incident began when Israel’s mission to the UN decided to hold an event on November 29, 2017, celebrating 70 years since the vote on UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which also recommended the establishment of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel.

The plan was to hold an event in the original UN hall where the vote took place. The building, which served as UN headquarters from 1946 to1950, is now owned by the City of New York and houses the Queens Museum, which describes itself as a “public museum.”

In June, a Museum official informed Israel’s Mission to the UN that they had reserved the appropriate hall and were looking “forward to a wonderful and meaningful event in its natural setting.” Preparations for the event commenced as senior UN officials, ambassadors and key dignitaries were invited, and over a dozen pro-Israel organizations that partner with the Israeli mission.

However, as word of the event became public, the museum official who initially confirmed the hall, a Muslim, expressed concern about feedback they received from “Palestinian friends of the museum.”

Blatant Discrimination

After weeks of silence from the museum, it’s President and Executive Director Laura Raicovich notified Danon that she was reversing the decision and would no longer agree to host the event, citing a board decision not to hold a “political event.”

“We will not accept this blatant discrimination against the State of Israel and we will not let this decision stand,” Danon stated Tuesday. “Celebrating the momentous decision of the UN recognizing the right to a Jewish state in our homeland is not a political event, but rather an expression of the historical and legal rights of our people.”

Raicovich is the editor of a book titled “Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency and Cultural Production.”  In its description of the book, the publisher states that “Boycott and divestment are essential tools for activists around the globe.” Included in Raicovich’s anthology is an article titled “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: Reasons to Support BDS,” which justifies and endorses the movement’s actions against Israel.

“It is unacceptable for BDS activists to single out Israel and ban our event,” Danon stated, while calling on the museum to dismiss Raicovich from her position and immediately honor their commitment to hold the event.

Following Danon’s protests and public pressure, the Queens Museum reversed its decision to renege on its earlier agreement.

“We welcome this step by the Museum to rectify their earlier unfortunate decision. Any attempt to discriminate against Israel is completely unacceptable and we will continue to fight against such injustices. We look forward to proudly celebrating this historic UN decision,” Danon concluded.

By: United with Israel Staff